On August 11 the PA Governor’s Office released to all state departments and agencies its 2012-2013 Program Policy Guidelines for Budget Requests to be developed and submitted for consideration for inclusion in the Governor’s 2012-13 Executive Budget. In providing direction to state agencies on budget requests for FY 2011-2012, the guidelines issued by the office of PA Governor Tom Corbett on August 11 stress that state spending is to be reduced. The Guidelines emphasize that Governor Corbett is committed to reducing the cost of operating state government by 10 percent over four years. The Program Policy Guidelines state explicitly that agencies should not assume funding increases for fiscal year 2012-2013. Instead, in developing their budgets they should be focusing on changes in program management and operations and on reduction of costs. The guidelines say that agencies are to request general government operations (GGO) and administrative appropriations at levels that do not exceed 2011-12 enacted budget amounts. The agencies are to identify efficiencies, consolidations or other personnel cost reductions sufficient to offset any requested increase in operating and fixed asset spending. Agencies have also been asked to propose opportunities for outsourcing, privatization, public-private partnerships or competition. They are also to manage their 2011-12 staff complement, including requests to fill 2011-12 vacancies, so that budget requests are within the levels specified by the guidelines. Discretionary programs that are not statutorily set by the state or are not a federal requirement are to be budgeted at levels that do not exceed enacted 2011-12 budget amounts. Program revision requests requiring new or increased funding are to be kept within existing 2011-12 funding levels through offsetting savings that are realistic and sustainable. Finally, the agencies are not to request additional state funding to replace lost or reduced federal funding. Agencies are expected to respond to all aspects of these guidelines. FMI: Contact PARF at firstname.lastname@example.org. FMI: See a copy of Administrative Circular 11-12 at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=635&PageID=229473&mode=2&contentid=http://pubcontent.state.pa.us/publishedcontent/publish/cop_general_government_operations/oa/oa_portal/omd/p_and_p/administrative_circulars/2011_circulars/items/11_12.html
Contact PARF at email@example.com.
On August 25 Pennsylvania Representative Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) said that efforts are being renewed to enact his bill for better concussion management in youth sports. The Safety in Youth Sports Act (H.B. 200/S.B. 200) passed the Senate and is scheduled for debate on the House floor this fall. The bill aims to ensure that male and female student athletes who suffer concussions receive proper care and rest before they get back into the game. The bill states that a player who shows symptoms of sustaining a concussion would not be able to return to play until they are cleared by an appropriate medical professional. It also would require students and a parent or guardian to read and sign a concussion awareness sheet so they are better informed about injuries that may be sustained on the field. Briggs said he also has introduced the proposed Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Act (H.B. 1795), which will require that school districts develop, expand or improve a comprehensive school physical activity program that must include at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity for every child every regular school day. In addition, Briggs has introduced legislation to address bullying in schools (H.B 1805). This bill would expand the current bullying policy to apply to actions such as harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyber-bullying. Furthermore, it would delineate specific actions that must be taken by school entities to ensure the school entity’s policy on harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyber-bullying offers considerable notice, opportunities to report incidents, remedies for victims and training in harassment and bullying prevention for those responsible for students. FMI: For updates on the bills see www.legis.state.pa.us and enter the individual bill number. For more information on legislative advocacy for the bills see http://www.pahouse.com/PR/149082511.asp. See also www.pahouse.com/Briggs.
On August 22 Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Deputy Secretary Kevin Friel issued a letter clarifying requirements of the DPW ODP policy on Incident Management (IM) outlined in its policy bulletin Incident Management #6000-04-01 (effective February 8, 2004). The August 22 letter from Deputy Secretary Friel offers information on documentation required in completing an IM report in the Home and Community Services Information System (HCSIS). The letter stresses the need for complete and detailed information concerning corrective actions, staff identification, staff disciplinary action, and the timing of specific corrective actions. ODP asks providers to contact ODP regional risk managers if more information or assistance is needed. FMI: See www.odpconsulting.net.
On August 19 the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) issued an invitation to all interested parties to join in efforts of The Alliance for Full Participation to increase employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. The Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) is a partnership of people and organizations with a common vision – to create a better and more fulfilling quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. The invitation by ODP was issued as ODP Announcement 110-11 which announced the strategic goals of the Alliance for Full Participation and sought to recruit membership on subcommittees which will forward the goals. The announcement described the vision of the alliance (namely, people with intellectual disabilities obtain employment that includes integration, productivity, independence and quality of life.) and the mission (to double the number of individuals with intellectual disabilities that are employed over the next 5 years). Interested parties are asked to contact Carmen Donegan at ODP at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 717-783-5772.
In issuing its announcement on the Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) of people with intellectual disabilities in the workforce, the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) identified the AFP Pennsylvania State Team subcommittees and encouraged individuals interested in the AFP mission and goals to join. Among the subcommittees that have been established are those focused on: (a) Empowering individuals and their families to obtain community employment, increase the understanding of the benefits of employment and the supports available; (b) communicating to individuals in the 18-20 year age range, their families, and the educational system about effective planning for transition and existing adult services; (c) raising employment expectations with supports coordinators and providing training on how to facilitate employment; (d) providing best practices training for job placement and job coaching, including appropriate business techniques and relationship building; (e) identifying statewide and local business trends and distributing this information to develop a working knowledge of emerging opportunities; (f) reviewing system and policy recommendations to promote employment; (g) communicating the mission of the Alliance for Full Participation PA Team and reporting regularly on the progress to all stakeholders; and (h) identifying best practices for resolving transportation barriers to employment. FMI: Contact Carmen Donegan at ODP at email@example.com or phone 717-783-5772.
On August 23 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers can apply to participate in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative (Bundled Payments initiative). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center’s Request for Applications (RFA) outlines four broad approaches to bundled payments. Three models involve a retrospective bundled payment arrangement, and one model would pay providers prospectively. Applicants would propose the target price, which would be set by applying a discount to total costs for a similar episode of care as determined from historical data. Participants in these models would be paid for their services under the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) system. After the conclusion of the episode, the total payments would be compared with the target price. Participating providers may then be able to share in those savings. Applicants for these models would also decide whether to define the episode of care as the acute care hospital stay only (Model 1), the acute care hospital stay plus post-acute care associated with the stay (Model 2), or just the post-acute care, beginning with the initiation of post-acute care services after discharge from an acute inpatient stay (Model 3). Under the fourth model, CMS would make a single, prospective bundled payment that would encompass all services furnished during an inpatient stay by the hospital, physicians and other practitioners. Organizations interested in applying to the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) no later than September 22, 2011 for Model 1 and November 4, 2011 for Models 2, 3, and 4. See the Federal Register posting at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-21707_PI.pdf. See also the HHS fact sheet at http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/bundling08232011a.html. For more information about the various models and the initiative itself, please see the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative web site at: http://www.innovations.cms.gov/areas-of-focus/patient-care-models/bundled-payments-for-care-improvement.html. Interested parties may obtain answers to specific questions by e-mailing CMS at: BundledPayments@cms.hhs.gov.